Can I be kicked out of a house that I’m renting with no notice?

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Can I be kicked out of a house that I’m renting with no notice?

I live in my uncle’s house where I pay rent and utilities but we have no lease agreement. I pay him and he signs a receipt showing that he received payment. He is threatening to kick me out if I don’t get along with his girlfriend. Can he do that?

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Although you don't have a lease, the fact that you are paying rent and the payments are being accepted by your uncle establishes a landlord / tenant relationship.  Although there isn't a formal lease, you have a month-to-month tenancy due to your payment of rent and your uncle the landlord accepting payment.  A month-to-month tenancy requires thirty days notice before you can be evicted.  There are exceptions to that notice requirement such as failure to pay rent.

If you don't get along with your uncle's girlfriend and are evicted for that reason, you may be able to argue that this is retaliatory eviction.  Retaliatory eviction means landlord is retaliating against you by evicting you for something that is not a breach of the lease.  There may be an issue in your situation whether retaliatory eviction is applicable since you don't have a formal lease.  You may be able to argue that although you don't have a formal lease, as a renter you should still be subject to the protection offered by retaliatory eviction.


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